Police appeal after 11-year-old girl assaulted in Barnstaple

Officers are hunting a suspect after the alleged assault but state ‘we are not treating this as an attempted abduction’.

POLICE are appealing after an alleged assault on an 11-year-old girl in Barnstaple last night (Thurs).

The incident occurred on Richmond Terrace around 4.15pm.

It is alleged the girl was walking home from school when an unknown man grabbed her around the neck and pushed her against a wall.

The girl was not injured and the man then ran from Richmond Street into Hills View where he got into a white van and drove off.

The van is described as being a ‘62’ plate and was sign-written.

Toby Davies, Chief Inspector for North and West Devon, said: “This is an unprovoked assault on a child which is obviously rare for our area and we are treating it very seriously.

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“We are very keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this incident or might have additional information on the identity of the offender.

“I’m aware that there have been some inaccurate rumours circulating around social media sites relating to this. I would like to reiterate that, whilst the motive for this assault is unclear, there were no threats or demands and we are not treating this as an attempted abduction.

“At this time we are offering no specific advice to parents.”

Police are now hunting a suspect who is described as being white, aged 30 to 35 years old with wavy light brown/dark blonde hair with bits of grey.

He was thought to be wearing a grey hoody, dark or denim jogging bottoms, white trainers He had dark eyes and was unshaven.

Police are keen to emphasise that no threats or demands were made of the child and that the police are not treating this as an attempted abduction.

The girl was not physically injured as a result of the attack.

It is also not being linked to any other incidents in the area.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the van making off and can provide additional information which may identify the vehicle and its driver.

Information may be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 quoting reference CB/12/3967

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